Adelaide-CSIRO iPhD: Trace analysis of noble-gases using laser cooling and trapping for groundwater management

Payment per year
4 years
Adelaide-CSIRO iPhD Program
Postgraduate Research
Australian Citizens
Australian Permanent Residents
New Zealand Citizens
Permanent Humanitarian Visa Holders
Type of Scholarship
Financial Need
Supplementary Scholarships
Available In
All Faculties
Available To

The University of Adelaide and CSIRO are excited to offer a specialised Industry PhD (iPhD) program and scholarship.

Our 4 year Industry PhD Program includes a minimum six month industry placement offering you an enhanced opportunity to work in an industry-defined research area with support and supervision through a partnership between the University of Adelaide, CSIRO, and an Industry Partner.

In addition, you will have the opportunity, along with your supervisory team, to engage in training and professional development activities. By building your abilities, skills, understanding, and encouraging professional growth, the iPhD will prepare you to hit the ground running after completion.

Within this unique program, the University and CSIRO will:

  • administer and support the program
  • provide a $40,000 per annum scholarship
  • provide project research support funds of $10,000 per annum.

Please visit the Adelaide-CSIRO iPhD website for more research projects as well as general information on the program and scholarship.

The exciting project with Rio Tinto is described below.

Project Name

Trace analysis of noble-gases using laser cooling and trapping for groundwater management

Project Description

Radiogenic noble gases and radioactive noble gases (85Kr, 39Ar and 81Kr) together can date groundwater at almost any timescale, years to billions of years, without many of the limitations of traditional tracer techniques. This project will make use of the Atom Trap Trace Analysis (ATTA) system currently being constructed at the University of Adelaide and the new facilities for radiogenic noble gases at CSIRO (Helix mass-spectrometer).

The project aims to address a problem in managing the voids created by large-scale mining across Australia, which require extensive management in perpetuity in the post-mining landscape: the ability to predict future water levels and salinity in mining voids is often constrained by the poor conceptual understanding of the surrounding groundwater systems.

You will be involved in the implementation of the state-of-the art ATTA technique, based on laser-cooling and trapping. In addition, you will work with the industrial partner on the application of environmental tracer measurements to characterise groundwater systems in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, where extensive mining is currently occurring.

Ideal candidate

An ideal candidate will:

  • Be a physicist, geologist, or chemist interested in the real-world applications of fundamental laser-cooling techniques.
  • Be a pragmatic individual able to adapt new techniques to the challenging conditions associated with groundwater investigations in remote regions of Australia.
  • Have good interpersonal skills because planning groundwater investigations in remote areas requires extensive consultations with aboriginal communities, pastoralists, various levels of government as well as the private sector.


The project will be located in Adelaide with placement activity taking place in Perth/Pilbara.


Rio Tinto 1

Application instructions

Please read all instructions carefully.

Calls for EOIs are now open

To be considered for the Industry PhD program the following first steps must be completed by 9:00am on 18 October 2019:

  • Complete an EOI form for each Adelaide-CSIRO iPhD project that you wish to apply for.
  • Email completed EOI forms (as a PDF document) to No late forms will be accepted.

Once the EOI forms have been received by the HDR Industry office you will be sent detailed instructions on how to complete and submit your Online Application, which will include providing your academic transcripts and CV.

Following the detailed instructions provided to you, you can begin your application, taking special note of the specific application information you are requested to provide, including indicating the CSIRO Project Title and Supervisor in the correct field and selecting the specific “Study Preferences” and “Research Interests”.

Online applications will be accepted up to 31 October 2019.

General Information about applying

  • Adelaide-CSIRO iPhD program applicants must submit an Admission Only application to be considered.
  • Please refer to our guide on submitting an online application.
  • Once submitted, your application will be reviewed to determine your eligibility to be admitted to the PhD Program.
  • Applicants due to complete their honours programs in Semester 1 are eligible to apply, however, any offer would be conditional on successful completion of the degree.
  • Your eligibility to be considered for the Industry PhD program of your choice will be reviewed.
  • If you meet the eligibility requirements, you will be contacted for a formal interview by CSIRO and the University in November 2019.
  • You will be notified of the outcome of your application following the interview.
  • If your application is unsuccessful, your online application for Admission will be closed.
  • Should you wish to apply for a PhD program unrelated to the CSIRO Industry PhD program, you will need to submit a separate new application for Admission and Scholarship during one of the 2 rounds held each year. The Major Round opens 1 September and closes 31 October, while the Mid-Year Round opens early April and closes 30 May.

Application Checklist

  • Emailed PDF versions of your completed EOI(s) to
  • Completed your “Admission Only” online application form.
  • Included CSIRO Project Title/s and Proposed Supervisor/s in the Research Interests field of your application.
  • Uploaded all other required documentation and submitted your online application.